I was reading about filmmaking first as a child interested in special effects, then as a teenager interested in filmmaking, next as a young adult taking film classes, making my own films, voraciously reading any bio or textbook I could find at university. Eventually I made my way into managing cinemas and never ending study. I made contacts, learned how the business worked, began to loathe most mainstream films, and just kept going.
I had an enlightening but difficult time in the one official film course IUP offered. I was introduced to films I had not seen but had read about. Concepts were explained more fully. I hit a wall with Blade Runner. I had read more about it than the professor who felt he was an authority. We wasted several classes arguing about the film. I won and had my A lowered to a B.
I wrote a paper about the symbolic language David Lynch uses in all of his films, at least up to 1990. I wrote a paper on Truffaut and taught myself about the French New Wave. I’m thinking about writing one on Orson Welles or John Hughes.
I’m not in the biz any longer but I retained friends all over the pipeline from writing to producing to spfx to booking to marketing. I know way too much about popcorn and Creators poppers. Poor presentation drives me crazy as does the noise in a theatre.
I miss film. The tactile act of threading. I miss the noise in the booth. I miss being good in the booking game and predicting movie box offices. I do not miss the owners and how exhibition works.
I was going to go to film school for my masters but I couldn’t afford it. I hoped to go to Australia but you need to live there after.
I get frustrated speaking to people sometimes when they ask a question about the business, I give an answer, and they reject it because I don’t know why. I was predicting digital projection which no one thought would happen. Or why 3d wouldn’t stay. Why large format would dominate. Why Covid was the death knell of exhibitors grip on distributors. Blah blah blah.
My wife gave me the gift of the criterion channel a couple years ago so I am catching up on all the films I wanted to see but did not have the opportunity. It is glorious. I was craving surreal films, challenging films, creative films. I’ve been overdosing on Bergman, Cocteau, Truffaut, Goddard.
Having been immersed in popular tripe for so long I had begun to forget the joy of a film with meaning, a film that required thought.
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